The Digital Marketing hype train is indeed real. People are fascinated by the Digital platform, and why not? Everything around us is changing. It is now easier as well as more important than ever, to start and/or grow your business with Digital Marketing.
The businesses have to evolve, or as history has taught us, risk getting obsolete.
Think about it, not half a century ago, the more traditional marketing mediums like Print and Radio were dominating.
This happened until the next best thing, the Idiot Box, came along. Its popularity grew as more and more brands shifted to this medium, and those who didn’t, outdated.
The idea here was interrupting people with content (which they never asked for in the first place), in the hope of improving brand awareness and thereby, sales. But though the reach through the medium was good, the resulting campaign parameters could not be calculated, only estimated.
This was the case until the age of the internet came forth; what we now know as the Digital Age.
Since then, the Digital vs Traditional Marketing war is on. All this fight, just to have a moment of your attention.
All said and done; Digital Marketing is still more about Marketing than Digital. And that’s the beauty of it. Even though the rules have changed, the game is still the same.
It’s still about sending the right message to the right people at the right time.
The mediums keep evolving, yet the fundamentals stay the same.
So, you either play, or you go home.
Marketing from the customer’s POV
Since one of the main ingredients of marketing is the customer, it’s only logical to look at it from their point of view.
The marketing journey starts with a description of what an ideal customer looks like. After you’ve identified the perfect customer, you club together all the people with similar traits, forming a segment.
And then you understand and address the customer’s pain points by positioning yourself as an expert who could help them.
This builds trust over time and eventually leads to a transaction.
And if everything is done right, this trust evolves the consumer into your brand ambassador.
And this is the ultimate goal, isn’t it?
Before we talk about the 10 step process on how to start a digital marketing business, it’s essential to know how we reached there.
The Personal Brand conundrum
Trust is one of the most essential components of Marketing.
So, it is all about building that trust.
Having a personal touch only makes the connection more profound and unique. That’s one of the reasons why every brand out there aspires to become human-like.
And I wonder why people are so keen on becoming like a brand? Food for thought.
Since trust is one of the fundamentals leading to a sale, and a personal touch acts as a catalyst for the same, it only makes sense to focus on building a personal brand.
And why not?
There is no hiding the fact that visibility is the key to success. The best known will always beat the best.
So, no matter your proficiency in Digital Marketing, be it Novice or an Advanced professional, you need to be looking at building and sustaining your personal brand.
Personal branding is all about managing your name even if you don’t own a business.
But there are many stages in building a Personal brand.
That’s why it becomes all the more crucial to know the stage of the personal brand you are at. Only when you’re aware of that, you could do something about it.
Mass Trust Blueprint: Evolution of Personal Branding
The Personal Brand evolution is best explained by the Mass Trust Blueprint, built by one of the finest digital marketers in India, Deepak Kanakraju aka Digital Deepak.
There are 6 levels in the Mass Trust Blueprint. They are:
1. Learn: The first stage is learning a new skill. It involves gathering knowledge.
2. Work: This stage involves getting your hands dirty. Now that you’ve learnt, it’s time to put that knowledge to use. So, implement what you’ve learnt, at your job or while freelancing.
3. Blog: In this step, you share your experience in the form of content. This can be writing a blog article, or creating a video, or even recording a podcast. This step is where your personal brand-building process comes to life.
4. Consult: Since you have built a personal brand through your blog and have relevant experience, you can start consulting other businesses instead of working for one.
5. Mentor: This is the step-up phase where you guide the people, who aspire to be like yourself. These people are in the initial stages of the mass trust blueprint. Mentoring them will further improve your understanding of the subject.
6. Startup: This is the final step of the ladder- the business end. You have gathered relevant information and experience over the years, about the market and the audience, it’s time to put all that to use. You have identified your audience and are aware of their problems, so now you need to introduce a product or a service which solves the same.
Now that you’ve sorted the Personal branding conundrum, it’s time to unlock your digital marketing business potential with the help of the 10 step blueprint to start or grow your Digital business.
Step 1: Finding your niche
This is the first start for any business journey, be it traditional marketing or digital marketing.
It’s said that half your success depends on where you choose to compete; your niche.
If you try to cater to everyone, your overall marketing won’t speak to anyone.
And because your niche is linked to your ideal client, you must have a targeted niche market.
Since the majority of the competition is at the bottom, it becomes necessary to get clear of that traffic. Choosing the correct niche guarantees that you’re clear.
Moreover, whichever category or sub-category in a niche you decide to follow, aim to be its leader. Don’t try to be the number one; be the only one. And this is only possible if you choose to have a unique angle about you.
CATT Marketing funnel
Moreover, your niche is critical to the wealth and success of your business. This can be seen with Digital Deepak’s, CATT Marketing funnel strategy, as shown below.
Wealth is directly related to the niche of the business. And using the CATT marketing funnel approach makes the whole process easier.
CATT represents Content, Attention, Trust, and Transaction.
Content, Attention, and Trust when combined lead to a transaction. These components will be discussed later.
Finding a suitable niche is like finding your soulmate. It’s quite challenging, but it’s worth it.
Niche comprises of 3 components: Talent, Market, and Passion. The highlighted area in blue (as shown), where all these components coincide, form the niche.
The tricky thing about it is that it only works if all components coincide.
For instance, you maybe passionate about something and have a talent for it, but if there’s no market for it, the business won’t succeed.
So, you have to find a niche where your talent and passion go hand in hand, and there is a market for it. Because if there’s no market, there’s no scope.
In other words, it’s all or nothing.
So, choose a market wherein there is a sustainable demand for what you’re selling, in addition to your skills and passion for the same.
When you figure your niche out, you’ve won half the battle. And it’s only the first step. No sweat!
Step 2: Understanding your Target Audience
Now that you’re aware of where to look, you’ll want to know more about whom you’re looking for.
Only when you know what your ideal customer looks like, you can find them. It’s simple. If you look for everyone, you’ll find no one.
To find the ideal customer, you have to picture them, by personifying them: understand their needs, their pains, and their desires. Only when you’re aware of those things, you’ll be able to help them.
This is done through an ideation process with carefully designed questions which will help you understand your ideal customer better. This can be done through targeted surveys, interviewing existing clients, even brainstorming your version of an ideal customer, etc.
Refer to the Customer Persona Grid below.
This perfect customer forms a point of reference for your idea of the target audience. The group of customers who share these similar goals and aspirations are clubbed together to form a segment.
Is identifying your Target Audience important?
If this part is not done right, then it will lead to lots of damage in future, in terms of time and money.
Wondering how? Understand the situation below.
Suppose you’re selling a software service which only finds use to the professional digital marketers. But if you target everyone in that niche (enthusiasts, amateurs, top professionals), even though you’ll get lots of leads, but they won’t qualify as good quality.
To avoid such a situation, you need to get your audience definition right, to generate quality leads. This perfect fit will lead to natural sales, wherein the product sells itself.
But that is not all.
As you know that a market is a place where the buyers meet the sellers. Since the buyer isn’t aware of your (seller’s) existence, they won’t come to you. You, (seller) have to go to them.
Besides, you have to find these buyers before another seller discovers them.
In conclusion, you find the right audience; you hit the jackpot.
Now that you know what your customer looks like, you need to set some goals before you proceed.
Step 3: Setting Goals
Before you set sail into the vast ocean, you must map your seaway. You have to make checkpoints to ensure everything is organized because it’s better to be aware of what’s coming than being surprised later.
The goals you define must be realistic and measurable.
Since these goals can be measured in addition to the customization of messages, unlike in a traditional channel, it makes the digital platform a better alternative when catering to your target customers.
So, write down a figure, like for instance if you expect a certain number of leads as a result of your efforts, your campaign results will help you measure and compare the same with your goals.
Your end goal should involve the customer taking action, which will be your campaign goal. This action can be a monetary transaction or subscribing to your newsletter or even subscription to a freemium service.
Setting campaign objectives
Let’s assume that your goal is to generate 10 million in sales. Refer to the picture below.
If you’re selling a Software as a service worth 1K, then to generate sales worth 10 million, you’ll have to find 10K customers for your product. It looks simpler and achievable now, doesn’t it?
But if you don’t make appropriate goals, you’ll find the whole process difficult and maybe unachievable.
And that’s why setting goals is necessary.
Since you can measure them, it gives you an idea of where you are, and where you want to go. This keeps you motivated and focused. And also, keeps everything under control.
Your goals can focus on different components of your campaign.
For instance, you can set goals for ad metrics like Cost per acquisition (CPA) and Cost per click (CPC). This is done to measure whether your leads are available at a price that it’s profitable at the end.
Further, you should set goals including your expected click-through rate (CTR) and subsequent Conversion rate (CR in %) of your campaign.
Doing this task will motivate you and ensure that you’re focused. You’ll feel in control of the project.
After getting done with our pre-campaign goals, we arrive at the Content part of the CATT marketing funnel.
Step 4 Providing Content
It is said that content is the king. I believe it is much more than that.
Content is the kingdom. It’s your legacy. The content you create today will live long after you’re gone. This digital age ensures that.
You’re building your personal brand with the content you’re creating and sharing (Content Marketing).
And because you communicate through your content, it’s all about hitting the right chords (customer’s pain points). Because that’s when the music starts.
Content is basically of two kinds. One deals with warming-up the audience (for lead nurturing) and the other, acts as a lead magnet.
Lead Warm-up content
This content can be anything from a blog post to a video, or a social media post, or even an audio podcast. This can act as your pillar content, around which other content is built.
Its goal is to attract your target audience to your content and funnel them to your lead magnet.
And so, it becomes essential to create the engaging content which generates interest in your lead magnet.
Now let’s talk about the lead magnet.
Your lead magnet is the content you offer in exchange for the target’s details (name, contact, and email).
You could create and offer a free ebook, a starter course, or even a free trial period for your software, as an experience of your offering.
So, when someone signs up, they will qualify as leads because they are interested in the solution you’re offering to their problem.
What’s important is that this offer is relevant to the target’s problem and solves their need.
You can lead them to your magnet through warm-up content. This content elaborates and discusses the audience’s pain points. It does not discuss the features of your service, but the benefits it will provide if they were to use it.
Like the Warm-up content nurtures the audience and builds trust, the lead magnet, on the other hand, acts as the trigger to action.
Now that we have our content ready to go, we need to set up a lead capture mechanism.
Step 5: Lead Capture Mechanism
The content we create helps in generating leads.
But to capture the leads, we need a lead magnet capture and delivery mechanism. This is where marketing automation comes into the picture.
The mechanism involves setting up a landing page, a form page, a thank you page, and an email marketing tool connecting them all.
The landing page describes the details of the lead magnet, the problems it solves, and why your audience should get it. It acts as a funnel to separate good leads from bad ones.
The form page is where you ask the target for their details (Name, contact, or email). The details you want should be relevant and proportional to your offering. Suppose you’re offering a very exclusive magnet. In that case, you can ask for more information, but beware this can act as a resistance in the target’s mind. In this case, the leads generated will be lower in number, but higher in quality.
The thank-you page is where your magnet is located. This comes after the customer fills the form page and provide their details.
Finally, the email marketing tool integrates and connects all these pages and helps in communicating with the lead via autoresponders using drip sequences.
Now that you have the lead capture mechanism ready, you need to get the information out there.
The objective is to get it to the attention of your target audience so that they visit your page, interact with your content, and share their details.
Off to Step 6 then.
Step 6: Spreading the word
In here, we talk about the Attention part of the CATT Marketing funnel.
If you wish to gather attention, you need to spread the word. It’s as simple as that.
As the age-old adage goes, ‘the best known always beats the best’.
If you’re offering a great product or service and the people, don’t know about it, no matter how good your offering is, you won’t achieve your goals.
So, you need to get out there and promote your lead magnet to attain your final objective, a transaction.
You can choose to promote your lead magnet on a social media platform. But you need to be aware of where your target audience spends most of their time, so you can target that platform effectively.
It would help if you also decided which traffic source to pursue: Organic or Paid.
The organic reach for most of the social media platforms has dropped in recent times. This is their bid to promote their paid ads platform.
So, if you don’t have organic traffic visiting your website through the search engine or social media platforms, you should resort to using paid ads to drive traffic to your website.
Driving paid traffic to your platform is recommended because it delivers better results in the short term. Moreover, since you can measure those results, you can optimize your campaign in coordination with your original goals.
Integrated Digital Marketing
The High traffic blueprint by Digital Deepak talks about the traffic generation through various sources.
Individually these components of Digital marketing are like Infinity stones; quite potent individually. But when they all combine, that’s when the magic happens.
Content marketing is at the centre of this blueprint. It is the gauntlet which holds all components together.
There are a lots of moving parts in this blueprint, happening as you drive the audience from various sources to your content. They come either through Paid ads or organically through search engines. Some find themselves visiting from the various social media platforms.
The interested people subscribe to your content lead magnet, whereas others, bounce.
Over time, these leads are nurtured via emails, and eventually, they transact.
Now that you have some data regarding the campaign, you need to analyze the information available to you. Only when you know the gaps, you can optimize them to produce the best results.
Step 7: Analysis and Optimization
This is an important step to assess the performance of your digital marketing campaign and lets you know what’s working well and what’s not.
You need to analyze the data you’ve received and make the necessary changes to optimize the processes to get the best results.
Since you have the results, you can compare them with your original goal. Some of the components will likely be doing well, while some would be falling short.
To tackle this, you can use the split test feature on your ads, headlines, CTAs, etc. against the original to find out what works best for you according to your initial goals.
And when you figure which component is not working well in your favour, you can test different versions and select a winning version for your campaign.
A small percentage of improvement can have a considerable impact to ensure that your goals are met. This will eventually lead to your lead acquisition costs dropping.
And that is why it’s best to experiment with different headlines, images, landing pages, etc. to achieve the best possible outcome.
Step 8: Building Trust
Now that you’ve optimized your campaign and started getting leads, it’s time to build trust with your audience.
Trust is the basis of any customer-provider relationship. Without trust, there is nothing.
But it takes lots of time and effort to build trust.
Pitching your product or service just after you get the lead of your audience is a suicide. It’s like asking a girl for her hand in marriage on your first date.
So, it becomes vital to build a relationship with your target customer, which leads to building trust.
But how do you build trust?
You nurture your leads.
Rather than talking about your product straight away, talk about your experience. Describe your struggles, similar to what your audience is facing. Describe how you’ve managed to come across a solution.
But you have to be careful. Don’t make everything about you.
The audience is smart and wants to know what’s in it for them. So, focus on their problems.
Talk about how your customers overcame their challenges to achieve their goals and success using your product or service.
You can share videos of your customers describing their struggles and overcoming the same by using your product. This move weakens the barriers and helps build trust.
You have to share helpful content which solves their problems. You need to take a deep dive in that pool to understand their problems and come up with worthy and convincing solutions.
This eventually leads to building a strong relationship based on trust. This trust-building process is also called nurturing the lead.
You have to create a content sequence which is a step by step process to nurture the lead. It’s like teaching them basic mathematics before asking them to solve a complex problem. It’s an orderly process.
While you take these steps, talk to the customer. Get to know more about them. Ask about their hobbies and passions, their goals and objectives. This is also called as profiling the leads.
This way, you are creating a personalized persona grid for that lead, as discussed in step 2.
But you need to be careful, not to get too personal, or the person might get offended and unsubscribe altogether.
But if you do everything right, the relationship will become stronger.
Eventually, as the trust grows, your audience will move to the next step, transaction.
Email is one of the best tools for nurturing the leads
Importance of Email Marketing
Email is probably one of the most preferred tools for business communication. It has one of the highest conversion rates, click-through rates, and ROI compared to other social or direct. Moreover, everybody checks their emails.
It is a saying that the money is in the list (email list).
Tomorrow, if some social media platform decides to suspend your account or maybe limit your reach, you’re done! All your hard work is dust. All your contacts go poof!
This is the biggest flaw if your whole model is based on those social media platforms.
But what if you build your own platform? What if you’re the king of your jungle?
That’s when things get interesting.
When you have your own platform, you can cater to the same audience, but this time, you’re in total control.
With email, you own the list. And if you own the list, you own the game.
If you’ve followed everything right till now, you’re not far from the sales glory.
Step 9: Completing Transaction
You must have heard about this sales adage, ABC meaning, ‘Always be closing’. It implies that the seller must be in the mindset of closing deals.
Now that you have nurtured your leads, it’s time you bring the big guns out; pitch.
But it’s imperative that the timing of your pitch is perfect; otherwise, you’ll not only end up losing the sale but also end up pushing the customer away. In which case, you’ll be back to square one.
There’s a saying that Sales happen when the right offer reaches the right audience at the right moment.
So, you have to ensure that the moment is right when you pitch your order.
The Sales Pitch
But how do you know when the time is right?
This is where Lead scoring comes into the picture. Different people will have different responses to your lead nurturing sequence. Some will respond in a better way than others.
Depending on their responses, they are scored differently.
These scores help you identify who’s ready for the next step, i.e. transaction.
So, the people who respond positively by engaging with your content score higher than those who don’t respond.
When they break the pre-decided score barrier, you can pitch your product or service. This ensures that they will be more susceptible to an offer compared to those who have lower scores than the barrier score.
Some people will take more time to get convinced. And there’ll also be some who might not be interested at all.
But for those who are ready, you need to present them with the right offer.
The offer should be in a way that the benefits you offer should outweigh the cost the customer is willing to pay.
The customer should be of the impression that he struck a good deal.
You can even add incentives like limited-time discounts, coupons, or upgrades to reduce the friction to purchase.
If you follow these steps, then in time, you can put the system on pilot mode and see the sales rolling.
So, now that the customer has just completed the transaction and is now a consumer of your product or service. Is it the end of the cycle? The answer to this question is a resounding no.
Now comes the final step of the ladder.
Step 10: Account Management
This Post-Sales role involves nurturing client relationship after the transaction is completed.
It is one of the least talked about, yet one of the most important.
You close a sale, and you think, okay, target achieved, a good day at work, but it’s only a job half-done. And we all know, a half-done job is as good as none.
Since you’ve already completed the hard bit, i.e. sale, now comes the bit where you have to build on that relationship. This is where customer relationship management (Account management) comes into the picture.
Importance of After Sales service
But why is it so essential?
It is a known fact that acquiring a new customer can be 5 times costlier than retaining one.
Since you’ve already converted the customer, it only makes sense to manage this one over prioritizing new ones.
So, the focus should be on increasing the Lifetime Value (LTV) of the customer, which, in turn, fulfils the objectives of Account Management.
If the customer is associated with your brand long enough, they turn into your brand ambassadors.
When this happens, these ambassadors will refer your brand to their contacts. Even though the Word of Mouth is an underrated communication form, it is a highly effective medium of communication.
Over time, there will be an exponential growth in the number of customers if you play your cards right.
So, now the million-dollar question is, how do you ensure this happens?
Building Brand Ambassadors
The simple answer is Following up.
The customer already trusts your brand, and that fact is acknowledged from the earlier transaction. Yeah, they bought your offering because they trusted you for providing a solution.
When you first acquired their lead, they were cold to the idea of a sale.
So, you nurtured them by sharing relevant content which addressed their pain points and desires.
Meanwhile, you gathered more information (Lead Profiling) to understand better their buying habits, opinions and preferences to provide a personalized solution.
Eventually, they warmed up to the idea because you continued the conversation happening in their head. And you finally hit the nail on the head!
So, the basic idea is doing more of the same stuff. Communicating.
Apart from communication through emails, you can organize doubt sessions in the form of Webinars. You can also create exclusive clubs/tribes (with benefits) for your customers. You can also employ your social media platforms to highlight your customer success stories.
It’s all about going above and beyond. These small gestures have a significant impact.
This motivation provides them with a sense of belongingness by being a part of your brand’s community. This empowerment leads to Brand Loyalty.
That’s what you should look to achieve.
It takes time, but every bit is worth the wait.
In conclusion, if history has taught us anything, Businesses will keep evolving as newer mediums come forth. Even though the core marketing fundamentals remain the same, adapting to more modern platforms is crucial for not only surviving but thriving too.
If you wish to rise from the bottom pit of dog eat dog scenario, you need to work on personal branding. This is essential no matter what phase of the professional cycle you’re in.
Mass trust blueprint which describes the evolution of personal branding is the depiction of what we call, life coming full circle- you learn, work, then share your experience, then consult, mentor, and finally, startup. And repeat.
The CATT Digital Marketing funnel is a sure route to success, if done right.
SInce trust is utmost component to succeed in any business, you need to ensure your customer’s trust. So, gather traction by creating quality content, while addressing your customer’s pain points and desires.
And when the understanding between you and your audience is just about right, you propose — present them an offer they can’t refuse.
It’s really that easy.
It’s all about making that customer satisfied because, at the end of the day, a satisfied customer is the best business strategy of all.
To start a business using digital marketing looks a bit easier now, doesn’t it?
What do you think about this?
Share your thoughts and opinions in comments. I’d love to know more about it.
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